Wed 11 Jul 2007
I would like to submit a follow-up on the interesting observations about The Dow Hour of Great Mysteries (for which, incidentally, Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and Collins’s “The Moonstone” were also planned, but remained unproduced) and Orson Welles Great Mysteries.
Orson Welles Great Mysteries, produced by Anglia Television (an independent British TV company serving the commercial network for the east of England), was a syndicated (taped) series of 26 half-hour episodes and was first broadcast in the London area from 6 July to 18 December 1974 (1st series) and then 18 September to 16 December 1975 (2nd series). The suitably haunting title music was by John Barry. Unfortunately, a very-unhaunting Orson Welles was brought in to introduce the stories, garbed in a black, swirling cloak and a slouch hat (suggesting the appearance of an Oliver Hardy as The Shadow).
The story sources for the individual episodes are as follows:
Captain Rogers (based on a story by W.W. Jacobs)
The Leather Funnel (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
A Terribly Strange Bed (Wilkie Collins)
La Grande Breteche (Honore de Balzac)
The Dinner Party (James Michael Ullman)
Money To Burn (Margery Allingham; dramatised by Michael Gilbert)
In the Confessional (Alice Scanlon Reach; with Milo O’Shea as Father Crumlish.
Unseen Alibi (Bruce Graeme)
Battle of Wits (Miriam Sharman)
A Point of Law (W. Somerset Maugham)
The Monkey’s Paw (W.W. Jacobs)
The Ingenious Reporter (Pontsevrez)
Death of an Old-Fashioned Girl (Stanley Ellin
Farewell to the Faulkners (Mirian Allen de Ford)
For Sale — Silence (Don Knowlton)
Inspiration of Mr. Budd (Dorothy L. Sayers)
An Affair of Honour (F. Britten Austin)
The Power of Fear (Lawrence Treat; dramatised by N.J Crisp)
Where There’s a Will (billed as an original script by Michael Gilbert, but wasn’t there an Agatha Christie story…?) Here, Richard Johnson plays Bruce Sexton.
A Time to Remember (James Reach)
Ice Storm (Jerome Barry; dramatised by N.J. Crisp)
Come Into My Parlour (Gloria Amoury)
Compliments of the Season (O. Henry)
Under Suspicion (Norman Edwards)
Trial for Murder (C.A. Collins and Charles Dickens)
The Furnished Room (O. Henry)
The script editor for the above series was John Rosenberg, who later became the producer for Anglia TV’s Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected (1979) and (now minus Dahl) Tales of the Unexpected (1980-88). The videotaped look and feel, rather disappointingly, was similar to the earlier Welles series.
Interestingly, during the year of Dow Hour‘s monthly presentations, 1960, a lesser-known genre author also had his works (or at least his characters) produced — as Diagnosis: Unknown (CBS, July-September). Lawrence G. Blochman’s police pathologist Dr Daniel Coffee was played by Patrick O’Neal (with Cal Bellini as Dr Motilal Mookerji and Chester Morris as Captain Max Ritter) in a series of only 10 hour-long episodes. The mystery here is that this fascinating-sounding series, which nobody seems to have seen, either back then or in more recent times, seems to have disappeared entirely. Fortunately, two of the Dr Coffee books (the collection Diagnosis: Homicide, 1950, and novel Recipe for Homicide, 1952) do crop up on AbeBooks.